7 Things To Consider Before You Buy a Down Comforter or Blanket

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A cuddly down comforter is not just for people living in Alaska. Down bedding products are available in a variety of weights, qualities, colors, and sizes for a cool sleep or one that will warm you from the chilliest of night winds. Because down is so lightweight, it's one of the most comfortable and sought after fills for a blanket or comforter. Before you shop for a blanket, get some basic information from our tips on buying a down comforter for your bed.

How Warm Do You Sleep?

Some people sleep with layers and layers of blankets or with the electric blanket turned up high. Others are comfortable with just a light layer covering them, even in the coldest of weather. Since down blankets and comforters come in a wide variety of weights and fills, you'll want to have an idea of what will give you the most comfortable sleep. Don't buy a heavy comforter if you live in the tropics!

How Big Is Your Bed?

Don't assume that you'll find a down comforter that fits your bed perfectly. Take careful measurements and look for the blanket that will most closely match your bed. If you have a Queen bed, don't get shortchanged with a "full/queen" quilt. If you have a California King bed, a "king" comforter may not be long enough. Keep in mind that you'll want some of the comforter or blanket to drop down the sides of the bed, so don't buy one that is too small.

How Much Fill Power Do You Need?

Pacific Coast Feather Company says, "Fill power is a term used to describe the quality of down. The higher the fill power, the larger and stronger the clusters of down. Large clusters provide superior insulation, breathe better and last much longer than smaller, fragile down clusters." So in order to get the proper warmth for your needs, compare the "fill power" that different manufacturers offer. There's no point in buying more than you need, but you don't want too little either.

Determine Your Budget and Choose the Quality You Want

The most expensive down blankets and comforters are made of pure, white, hypoallergenic goose down. If you're on a limited budget, you might find a down blanket with a lower grade of down, with less down, or with a combination of down and feathers. While these give a very comfortable sleep, you might feel that this is the time to stretch your budget and make a good investment. Look for special sales to get the one you really want.

Baffles Can Be Baffling

While simple quilts are made by sewing a filler between two layers of fabric, down blankets and comforters are made with long channels or a sewn-through box design which helps keep the down in place for an even distribution. Strips of fabric are actually sewn between the layers of fabric. These keep the clusters of down from shifting. With baffles sewn in, there won't be any "cold spots" in your down comforter.

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Outer Fabric Thread Count

Even though down clusters seem soft and fluffy, they are able to leak through any fabric that holds them. It's important to buy a cover with a high thread count, tightly woven, providing leakproof coverage. Then you won't have to worry that the down or feathers will sneak out. Many companies take special care to seal in the edges, too.

To Cover or Not to Cover?

A comforter without a cover is called a "duvet." In order to take good care of a new down comforter or blanket, we recommend that you use a "duvet cover," a large "pillowcase" that covers the large blanket. A cover will add some weight, and a decorative cover could add a lot of weight. But a duvet cover will protect the down blanket or comforter, and a cover is easier to clean than a large comforter.